An INNER VIEW with Destiny Rambo Khouri

An INNER VIEW with Destiny Rambo Khouri

Do you believe your unique voice can impact others? Does your silence or inability to embrace yourself leave a void that God created you to fill? Read this week’s INNER VIEW as Destiny Rambo Khouri shares her personal journey of a stifled voice turned powerful truth-teller.

BIO
Destiny Rambo Khouri is a sought after singer, worship leader, writer, artist, session vocalist, actress, teacher, and choreographer. She’s had a vibrant heritage of music and ministry. Her grandparents, Buck and Dottie Rambo, were pioneers in the Southern Gospel movement, and her parents, Dony McGuire and Reba Rambo were trendsetters in contemporary Christian music. All have received multiple Grammy and Dove Awards.

Destiny began traveling and singing with her parents as a child, but her work extends outside the gospel music realm and into theater. She has performed in dozens of productions and has sung on several original cast albums for Disney Theatrical, Sight And Sound Theater, and many others. Destiny has performed in multiple languages, including a project sung in Mandarin for Sea World Beijing.

In 2012, Destiny and her family’s group, Rambo McGuire, were privileged to win the Dove Award for bluegrass album of the year. In 2013, she released her highly anticipated solo album, Journal of a Songstress, and in 2020, she released a Christmas EP titled Oh Night Divine that was featured in the top 10 lists on iTunes and Amazon Music. Her most recent release was a single entitled Calvary Will Never Run Out Of Songs. She is also the writer and host of her weekly podcast and video series Divine Musing With Destiny Rambo Khouri.

In 2018, Destiny married Joel Khouri, a producer, composer, and writer with hundreds of recording credits. Together they create music and art in exciting and out-of-the-box ways. They are the founders of The Rambo Family Gospel Hour, a quarterly music and ministry event live-streamed worldwide. Destiny and Joel live in Charlotte, North Carolina with their sweet puppy, Nora.

 

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke: A career in the music industry is often daunting. What has God taught you recently that keeps you going?

Destiny Rambo Khouri: God has been teaching me the power of using your voice. I grew up in a household of singers and naturally stepped into that role. I loved to sing but also knew I had a testimony to share. As a young girl, I survived multiple sexual assaults and physical abuse. I felt such a pull to share my story in a way that could be a lifeline for others. At that time though, there was such an atmosphere of suppression and secrecy surrounding trauma. Therapy was almost a curse word, and the overall narrative was to “walk by faith” by keeping the darkness you struggled with to yourself.

I felt like the Lord was calling me to begin a weekly series that would be a safe place to discuss faith, trauma, art, and story. I was young and excited and started to tell people I respected my idea, thinking they would be supportive. Instead, I met one shutdown after another. They said to me that no one wanted to hear me talk. That I was a singer and just needed to stick to that. They also strongly discouraged my testimony, like it was going to reflect poorly on my family’s ministry. I was crushed and sadly believed them. I continued to sing but kept my story to myself.

In the last couple of years, Divine has done profound work to remove the shackles from my tongue. In February, I launched “Divine Musing With Destiny Rambo Khouri.” Each episode focuses on a singular topic and the growth journey it’s led me on. I have been blown away by the response in such a short time! I realize now more than ever that people want something real.

Your voice is one of the greatest gifts Divine has given you, and you shouldn’t be afraid to use it! Scripture says that we are overcome by the blood of the Lamb AND by the word of our testimony. Your story might be the hope someone needs to believe that survival, healing, and restoration are possible!

Kathleen: Wow, Destiny! Thanks for being brave and sharing that. What would you say to someone in a dark place right now who needs hope?

Destiny: In the craziness of life today, it is easy to get drained. The expectations we all have weighing on us every day can get so heavy that before we know it, we are being crushed beneath them. Finding time to center my thoughts, spirit, soul, and body is not only important; it’s vital. How can I give of myself when I’m running on empty?

When I feel myself beginning to be depleted, I have found a few things that help me recharge. The first thing is a hot bath. There is something about soaking for a bit that allows me to wind down my mind and re-center my body. Sometimes I soak in silence; other times, I will listen to an encouraging podcast, or I’ll put on calming music. I am particularly fond of pianists like Dustin O’Halloran and Chad Lawson.

I am also an avid reader. When I seek the comfort of scripture, as opposed to studying, I love “The Message” translation. It reads like poetry and is so soothing. I regularly revisit the Psalms, The Gospels, and my favorite of Paul’s writings, Colossians. I love all kinds of books, but especially those that play with my imagination. My go-to author is Madeleine L’Engle because even her works of fiction shed light on spiritual principles. Another way I like to feel inspired is by watching nature or historical documentaries. Taking in the beauty of God’s creation or learning about where we come from gives me so much hope.

And last but certainly not least, I find so much inspiration in our garden. My husband Joel and I plant lots of vegetables and herbs every year, and it’s a beautiful way to connect with Divine and with each other. There’s nothing like getting your hands dirty to help remind yourself of life’s simple wonders.

Kathleen: Finding peace and contentment is what we long for, but is hard to attain. What has God taught you about overcoming our culture that’s constantly telling us we aren’t enough?

Destiny: Everywhere we turn nowadays, advertisements tell us what we need or who we need to be. The pressure to buy into those things is dangerously heavy. That pressure is fed by comparison. We see the life people present on social media and covet their seemingly perfect existence and then spiral into mourning that we will never have what they have. The world around us has almost become a “funhouse” full of warped mirrors that cause us to see ourselves as anything but “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I have struggled my whole life with insecurities about my weight, talent, and what I have to offer the world. The mirror of comparison is unrelenting as it fights to destroy me.

 A couple of years ago, I had just taken a shower, looked at myself in the mirror, and began beating myself up over every flaw I saw. The added pounds, the imperfections, and the fact I look very different from most women in ministry, covered in tattoos and scars. I went at it for a while until I erupted in tears. In the midst of my breakdown, I heard the voice of Divine so sweetly say to me, “I looked into the whole world and saw that something was missing, and I created you to fill that void.” Wow! How could I continue to beat myself up after that! Am I perfect? No way! But Divine didn’t create me to be perfect. He created me to be that missing piece! Look, I’m a woman, so naturally, those struggles still come up from time to time, but I have learned how to silence those negative thoughts by reminding myself who He made me to be!

Kathleen: The Bible tells us to be a “sweet aroma” – in our language today, “influencer” comes to mind. How can we bring the fragrance of Jesus into our work and life? 

Destiny: One of my absolute favorite scriptures is 2 Corinthians 2:14-15, “But thank God! He has made us His captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume (aroma). Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.”

Jesus was the perfect example of what a life of influence should be. Even though He was born into humanity, He carried the atmosphere of Heaven with Him. That atmosphere radiated from His pores and impacted the lives of all who came into contact with Him. As believers who are alive to the reality of Christ in us, we have that same ability! We are the light that radiates His light. We are the beacon that pierces through the fog and lights the way home. We are the perpetual fragrance of Christ that should smell so delicious that lost and hurting people can’t help but be curious. Jesus met people where they were without judgment or condemnation and, through His perfect love, transformed them. I believe it is our responsibility to do the same. To me, influence means reaching people no matter where they are, what they’ve done, or where they’ve been. Only through the love of Jesus have we made it this far. The more we are willing to share that love, the greater the chance we then have to be a witness to the world. My greatest prayer surrounding the spaces I have been privileged to “influence” is that those sweet people walk away from our encounter feeling seen, known, loved, and always enough!

 

Connect with Destiny:

Website: www.rambokhouri.com
YouTube: RamboKhouri
Facebook: Destiny Rambo Khouri
Instagram & Twitter: DesRamboMusic
New weekly episodes of “Divine Musing With Destiny Rambo Khouri” are available on Mondays on YouTube and most major podcast platforms.
Music by Destiny Rambo Khouri is available in all digital stores.

Meet Anna Oakley Atlanta’s New Influence Lab Coordinator

Meet Anna Oakley Atlanta’s New Influence Lab Coordinator

We’re growing! Influence Lab Women is expanding into the hub of film and television production in Atlanta. “Hollywood and New York are no longer the only epicenters of media production,” shares Kathleen Cooke. “Influence Lab Women is thrilled to introduce you to the new Atlanta Influence Lab coordinator, Anna Oakley.”

The kick-off of the Atlanta group will be an in-person watch party of the Influence Lab Women’s online event featuring guest Cindy Bond, producer of “Redeeming Love” and the box-office hit, “I Can Only Imagine.” If you live in the Atlanta area, sign up here to join us for this event. (Not in Atlanta? Sign up here for the free webinar.)

And now, meet Anna Oakley…

Hi! My name is Anna Elizabeth Oakley, and I’m an actor, puppeteer, and children’s coach living in what has come to be known as the “Hollywood of the South” – Atlanta, Georgia. In December 2021, I journeyed to LA to hear actress and producer Jessica Oyelowo speak at The Influence Lab Women’s Christmas Gathering. I didn’t know anything about The Influence Lab and little did I know what God truly had in store for me that night. After a long desert season of almost two years due to the pandemic, the gathering blew me away and filled my soul. It was not only an evening filled with new connections, friendships, and empowering prayer but of being strengthened and mentored in faith and career excellence. I was inspired to press on and into what and where God had purposed for my life.

My immediate question when I met Kathleen was, have you thought of bringing this to Atlanta?

It turns out she had! The Influence Lab team had been praying about expanding into Atlanta. They, too, knew that Atlanta had grown into a strong industry community and had become a major hub for TV and film production. The Influence Lab had felt an urgency to expand, encourage and empower professionals there. But how? It was a matter of God’s timing. That night I felt God tapping me on the shoulder and calling me into action. (more…)

An INNER VIEW with Gianna Simone

An INNER VIEW with Gianna Simone

Kathleen Cooke: Your childhood and teen years were tumultuous, but God had His eyes of love and care on you. What would you tell a young person today who is living in a challenging or chaotic situation?

Gianna Simone: God has recently been teaching me that He is my provider, protector, and source of ultimate love. That He is enough, and in Him, I am never alone. People will love us but also let us down, which really hurts. Yet, He will NEVER let us down, disappoint us or abandon us. He keeps His promises – always has and always will. We will never be more loved than we are right now. He is truly for us and loves us more profoundly than we know or could understand.

Kathleen: Your life was one of constant uncertainty, and the media and entertainment industry is always rocky and challenging. Many might have given up, but you pushed forward. How do you decipher the ambitions you want from the perfect place God wants you to be in?

Gianna: Such a great question! Many years ago, I had an epiphany about this concept. I know God loves me and wants the best for me; therefore, I want what God wants for me. So, I asked God to help me see and desire the very best for my life and make my desires His desires, and vice versa. I want my will to be aligned with His will. If I feel a strong urge toward something that appears to be a good thing, I know to pursue it and act on it. It always seems to work out.

Oh… I still make mistakes. I am still human. There have been times when I have misread a situation and have had to re-assess and re-route and learn something from God that I didn’t see before. It’s all part of learning, growing, healing, and drawing closer to Jesus. I have seen and experienced lots of things in my life that I know I don’t want, which has shown me more of what I do want in my life—empowering me to move in a positive direction with confidence.

Kathleen: Fear is the word, isn’t it? How do you deal with the constant fear?

Gianna: Jesus tells us in Matthew 21:22, “Whatever you ask for in prayer BELIEVE you have received it and it WILL be given to you” Belief is so powerful, and fear can hold us back from accomplishing our mission(s). “Perfect love casts out all fear.” (1 John 4:18) Every single time I have chosen faith/love/belief over fear, it has changed my life for the better. Whether it is speaking at the United Nations (my first ever public speaking event) or jumping out of an airplane (when it was the first time for me ever to have flown in one) or standing on a cliff and bungee jumping off it (my most recent challenge), I love breaking through and overcoming fear. It builds character and strength. The mind is so powerful, and so much of what we want is right on the other side of fear.

Kathleen: Often, we never know how God uses others to influence our lives. Can you tell us about an instance when someone influenced your life and how God used that person to change the direction of your life?

Gianna:  When I was in foster care, I had tried taking my life and ended up in a hospital for young girls who had tried taking their own lives, too. I shared a room with another girl around the same age as me – about 15 years old. One night before bed, we were up talking, and I told her about Jesus. I had been attending church, and the messages were starting to make a lot of sense to me, but I hadn’t asked Jesus to come into my heart yet. The next morning, we were in a group setting, all sitting in a circle sharing our feelings and thoughts. She began sharing and started telling the counselor that she had given her life to Jesus the night before, and she no longer felt sad or suicidal any longer. I was in a bit of a shock that my thoughts had influenced her. God used my mustard seed sprouts for her belief.

It delighted me knowing that it had positively made a change in her life, but more profoundly, it impacted my own belief in God and His redemptive power. I soon got out of the hospital, kept attending church, and eventually asked Jesus to come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. Very soon after I was saved, God blessed me with my modeling and acting career, which have all led me closer to Him and profoundly changed my life. I can attest that once you give your life over to the Lord, He sets you on the most incredibly fulfilling trajectory and mission in life.

BIO
Gianna Simone is an actress, model, and producer. Her film credits include, Star Trek: Into the Darkness, Mother’s Day, I Can Only Imagine, Unbroken: Path to Redemption, and God Bless the Broken Road. She has appeared in several national TV shows and on the covers of numerous national publications. She presently hosts Love, Gianna, which focuses on plant nutrition with top doctors and athletes. She serves as a board member for The Plantrician Project and identifies as a Christian vegan.

Originally born and raised in Boston, she was abused and placed in foster care at 13 years of age. Her story is focused on overcoming obstacles in life. She founded The Gianna Simone Foundation, which focuses on bringing hope and positive change to individuals who have been neglected and abused. She worked directly with Kigali University providing scholarships to survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. She was honored to present her work, on behalf of her foundation, at the United Nations. She works tirelessly with numerous organizations that assist foster care youth, sex trafficked victims, and animal rescue agencies.

Visit Gianna’s website here.
Follow Gianna: Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or Facebook

The Creative Explorer

The Creative Explorer

In 1843, John C. Fremont, an explorer (and the namesake for the junior high school I attended), set off to explore the unknown once again. He had just returned from an expedition to Wyoming but was driven to see what was then called Oregon Country. He ended up exploring what is now known as Portland, Oregon, but his journey took him through the Sierra Nevada mountains then south and east to the desolate deserts and the Great Salt Lake in what is now known as Utah. However, this passion for exploring almost cost him his life in the Sierra’s where he and his mate, Kit Carson (who would gain fame in Nevada and whose capital city is named after him), were forced to eat their horses to survive. With Kit’s instincts and keen sense of direction, he would be Fremont’s saving guide. Without him, things would have turned out much different. (more…)